Boston High School: Casey DeAndrade

Two-Sport ESPN Boston All-Staters

June, 27, 2012
Looking back at the nearly two years that ESPN Boston's high school section has been up and running, we have had seven boys and one girl make our MIAA All-State Teams in multiple sports. Here are the eight below:

Pat Connaughton, St. John’s Prep '11
Basketball (2010-11), Baseball (2011)
College: Notre Dame (Basketball and Baseball)

Richard Rodgers, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) '11
Football (2010), Basketball (2010-11)
College: Cal (Football)

Matt Walsh, Plymouth North '11
Football (2010), Baseball (2011)
College: Franklin Pierce (Baseball)

Blake Dietrick, Wellesley '11
Basketball (2010-11), Lacrosse (2011)
College: Princeton (Basketball)

Casey DeAndrade, East Bridgewater '12
Football (2011), Baseball (2012)
College: New Hampshire (Football)

Matt O’Keefe, Duxbury '12
Football (2011), Lacrosse (2012)
College: Johns Hopkins (Lacrosse)

James Burke, Duxbury '12
Football (2011), Lacrosse (2012)
College: Penn State (Lacrosse)

Mark Riley, Needham '12
Football (2011), Lacrosse (2012)
College: Bates (Football and Lacrosse)

ESPN Boston's MIAA All-State Baseball Team

June, 22, 2012

All-StateRHP – Matt Tulley, Sr., Lowell
The Virginia Tech signee lived up to every ounce of his preseason hype, taking ESPN Boston’s 2012 Mr. Baseball Award earlier this week as the state’s top player. He earned his third consecutive Merrimack Valley Conference Player of the Year honor, going 7-1 with 90 strikeouts in 59 innings and one save, for a 1.46 earned run average. Opponents batted just .159 against Tulley on the season. At the plate, Tulley batted .306 for the Raiders, leading the team in RBI (20) and ranking second in runs scored (19). For his career, Tulley went 20-2 with a 1.57 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 140 innings.

All-StateRHP – Pat Ruotolo, Jr., Peabody
The 5-foot-10 craftsman caught national attention this year after throwing three no-hitters in a span of four starts, and finished the season as the state’s runner-up in strikeouts (130). In 76 innings of work, he went 8-1 with two saves, 31 hits allowed and 12 walks, for an ERA of 0.83, to earn Northeastern Conference MVP honors. He has 232 strikeouts since the start of his sophomore season, and over 300 for his career. Ruotolo is considering interest from a handful of Division 1 schools.

All-StateRHP – Alex Rozak, Sr., Plymouth North
The UMass-bound Rozak catapulted himself into discussion as one of the state’s best pitchers with his postseason play, winning three games as the Blue Eagles made their fourth Division 2 state final appearance in five seasons. He also carried a no-hitter into the final out in the Division 2 Eastern Mass final. For the season, Rozak was 8-3 with 61 strikeouts and 13 walks, with a 1.02 ERA. He won 24 games in his career at North, including a 9-1 campaign in the Eagles’ 2011 state championship season.

All-StateLHP – Steve Moyers, Sr., East Longmeadow
One of a handful of returning All-Staters, the University of Rhode Island signee is making his second appearance in the “Starting Rotation” after compiling a 7-2 record with 106 strikeouts. Over his last two seasons, he has gone 15-3 with 194 strikeouts, and he leaves East Longmeadow as one of the school’s winningest, compiling a 30-3 career record.

All-StateLHP – Ben Bowden, Jr., Lynn English
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound southpaw got off to a hot start, throwing a perfect game on April 7, and didn't cool off. On the mound he had six wins, with 82 strikeouts in 51.2 innings for a 2.19 ERA. At the plate, he played a key role in the Bulldogs' stunning upset of Peabody in the Division 1 North tournament; on the season, he batted .394 with 21 RBI, two home runs and nine extra-base hits, and also drew 17 walks.


All-StateCF – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
The speedster joins exclusive company as one of several players to make All-State in two sports, having made the football squad last fall. This spring, he put up .455/.506/.682 totals at the plate, with 25 RBI, two home runs, 19 runs and 15 stolen bases. On the mound, he went 5-2 with 67 K’s in 50.2 innings, holding opponents to a .106 average as the Vikings captured their first Division 3 South title since 1993. DeAndrade is headed to the University of New Hampshire in the fall for football.

All-State2B – Chris Hoyt, Sr., Xaverian
Nobody elevated their stock in the playoffs more than the Stonehill College-bound Hoyt, who pounded out eight RBI in the MIAA tournament – including four in the Division 1 state final. Batting out of the leadoff spot this spring, Hoyt batted .411/.477/.526 totals, with 19 RBI, two home runs, stole 19 bases and only struck out three times in 107 plate appearances. He also posted a ridiculous OPS of 1.003.

All-StateC – Bobby Melley, Sr., BC High
A returning All-Stater, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Centerville resident was one of the state’s most dangerous power hitters, compiling .370/.557/.685 totals with 13 RBI, three home runs and drawing 22 walks. Behind the plate, only two runners attempted to steal on him, both of which were caught out. Melley will continue his career next year at UConn.

All-State1B – Chris Shaw, Sr., Lexington
A returning All-Stater, Shaw was one of three Bay Staters taken in this year’s MLB Draft, going to the New York Mets in the 26th round. This spring, he batted .480 with seven home runs and 27 RBI, and also went 5-0 on the mound with 95 strikeouts in 45 innings. Shaw will be honoring his commitment to Boston College rather than signing.

All-State3B – Frank Crinella, Sr., Springfield Cathedral
In addition to flawless defense, Crinella was a tough out at the plate, hitting .456 on 26 hits, with 27 RBI and four home runs to go along with it as the Panthers went 18-2 before a surprise upset in the Division 1 West quarterfinals. Crinella will continue his career next year at Merrimack College.

All-StateSS – Matt O’Neil, Sr., East Longmeadow
Coupled with Moyers, the returning All-Stater formed an imposing 1-2 punch on the mound for the Spartans, who suffered a surprise upset in the Division 1 West semifinals. O’Neil batted four home runs to go along with 21 RBI; on the mound, he was 4-3 with 70 strikeouts in 41.1 innings. O’Neil will continue his career next year UConn.

All-State1B – John Jennings, Sr., Newton South
The Dual County League’s Large Division MVP was a force at the plate for the Lions, batting .415 with five home runs and 31 RBI. On the mound, he was 4-1 with 31 K’s in 27.2 innings, for a 1.27 ERA. He will continue his career next year at UMass.

All-StateSS – Regan Aghdam, Sr., Burncoat
One of the state’s premier leadoff hitters, Aghdam was solid at the plate, leading the Inter-High league in batting average (.463). On the mound, he went 6-0 with 43 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched. Aghdam will continue his career next year t the University of Rhode Island.

All-StateSS – Brandon Bingel, Jr., St. John’s Prep
The Catholic Conference’s co-MVP was a driving force for the Eagles, hitting .418 with 25 RBI and five home runs. On the mound, he was 5-1 with a 1.20 ERA in 40.2 innings pitched. Bingel is currently committed to Bryant University.


All-StateLHP – Scott Tully, Jr., Reading
Tully had a breakout junior season, going 8-2 with four saves with a 0.99 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 63.1 innings, tied for third-most K’s in the state. Tully also allowed just 27 hits this spring. He is currently committed to Notre Dame.
All-StateRHP – Pat Delano, Sr., Braintree
Nearly two years after Tommy John surgery, the 6-foot-7 fireballer found his way back to the top, going in the 35th round to the Boston Red Sox in the MLB Draft, and earning MVP honors in the Bay State Conference’s Carey Division. He posted a 1.21 ERA with four wins and 50 strikeouts in 57 innings, and added four home runs at the plate. He was also named a Region 1 All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Delano is currently committed to Vanderbilt, but has until the August 15 deadline to decide whether he’ll sign or not.

RHP – Charlie Butler, Sr., Nashoba
A returning All-Stater, Butler was once again dominant on the mound for the Chieftains, striking out 90 in 54 innings for a 0.91 ERA and 6-2 record. At the plate, he batted .365 with 14 RBI and two home runs. Butler will continue his career next year at the University of Maine.

All-StateRHP – Mike Walkowicz, Sr., Amherst
Another one of the state’s strikeout kings, Walkowicz went 5-4 on the mound as he rang up 112 batters in 65 innings of work for an average of nearly two K’s per inning. He will continue his career next year at Endicott College.
All-StateLHP – Tyler Buck, Sr., Franklin
One of the state’s most elusive lefties, Buck went 7-1 on the mound with 80 strikeouts and a 1.42 ERA for the Panthers, who were the No. 1 overall seed in Division 1 South. He also went .378 at the plate with 18 RBI and two home runs. Buck will play next year at St. Anselm College.

All-StateLHP – Mac Curran, Jr., Coyle-Cassidy
The hard-throwing 6-foot-4, 240-pound Lakeville resident was an intimidator for the Warriors, going 6-1 with a 0.52 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 49 innings. He also batted .351 at the plate, and is 14-3 so far as a starter for Coyle. Curran is currently fielding a slew of Division 1 interest.

All-StateRHP – Brandon Shileikis, Jr., Dighton-Rehoboth
The workhorse logged 68 innings and struck out 74 while walking just 12, going 9-1 with three saves, an ERA of 1.75 and a WHIP of 0.96. At the plate, Shileikis had .427/.456/.524 totals with 28 RBI and 27 runs. Shileikis is currently fielding various Division 1 interest.

All-StateRHP – Keegan Dellacona, Sr., Barnstable
The 6-foot-3 Dellacona formed a dynamic 1-2 punch on the mound along with UConn-bound Willie Nastasi, as the Red Raiders won the Old Colony League outright. For the season, Dellacona struck out 67 in 49.1 innings, for a 4-0 record and 0.89 ERA. He also threw 70 percent of his pitches for strikes, registered a 0.67 WHIP, and held opponents to just a .136 batting average. Dellacona is undecided on college plans.

All-StateLHP – Ryan McDonald, Sr., Acton-Boxborough
Another of the state’s most deceiving lefties, McDonald went 5-2 with 71 strikeouts in 46 innings, for a 1.98 ERA. He also led the Dual County League in batting average (.468) and plated 16 runs, including two homers. McDonald had previously signed with Bryant University, but is currently uncommitted.

All-StateRHP – Lee Albertson, Sr., Westfield
Albertson was the ace of a Bombers staff that won its third Division 1 West title in five years this spring. He went 6-2 on the mount with two saves, and struck out 58 batters in 54 innings. Albertson will be heading to Holyoke Community College next season.


All-State3B – Joelfi Arias, Sr., Springfield Central
The Eagles scored one of the biggest upsets of the MIAA tournament by knocking off Springfield Cathedral, and Arias played a big role. He had five home runs on the season to go with 24 RBI, and on the mount he had 65 strikeouts in 62 innings, logging a 5-2 record. Arias is headed to Juco power Indian Hills Community College, in Ottumwa, Iowa.

All-StateOF – Adam Benvie, Sr., Dighton-Rehoboth
One of several mashers on a lineup that batted nearly .400 as a team, Benvie posted .386/.538/.771 totals with 37 RBI and five home runs, scoring 27 runs and drawing 22 walks. Benvie will continue his career next year at UMass.
All-StateC – Joe Walsh, Sr., Taunton
The Old Colony League MVP led the Tigers on a surprise run to the Division 1 South final, where they lost to eventual state champ Xaverian. He batted .447 with 31 RBI, 23 runs scored and three home runs, for an on-base percentage of .562. He leaves Taunton a career .379 hitter with a .486 on-base percentage and 50 RBI. Walsh will play next year at Eckard College in St. Petersburg, Fla.

All-StateSS – Evan Mondor, Sr., Dighton-Rehoboth
One of several big bats that led the Falcons to the No. 1 seed in Division 2 South, Mondor posted .478/.617/.791 totals with 10 doubles, three home runs, and 20 RBI. Mondor also scored 35 runs and only struck out three times all year. He will continue his career next year at Bentley University.

All-StateSS – Brendan Skidmore, Sr., Franklin
Skidmore took home Hockomock MVP honors this season after batting .467 with five home runs and 21 RBI for the Panthers, who won the league outright as well as the No. 1 seed in Division 1 South. Skidmore will do a post-graduate year at Bridgton Academy next season.

OF – Jarrod Casey, Sr., Milford
A returning All-Stater and the reigning Mid-Wach A MVP, Casey put in another dominant season for the Scarlet Hawks, batting .490 with 22 RBI. On the mound, he was 6-2 with 73 strikeouts in 47 innings, for a 0.91 ERA. Over the last two years, Casey has gone 14-3 on the mound.

All-StateSS – Sean O’Neill, Sr., Norwood
The senior played a significant impact on the Mustangs’ run to the Division 1 South quarterfinals, taking MVP of the Bay State Conference’s Herget Division in the process after batting .416 with 16 RBI and a home run in the wood-bat league. O’Neill will play next year at Merrimack College.

All-StateSS – Dan Cellucci, Sr., Lincoln-Sudbury
Another returning All-Stater, Cellucci was consistent once again for the Warriors, batting .435 with 18 RBI and two home runs as the Warriors came up short in the Division 1 state title defense. Cellucci will continue his career next year at Bryant University.

All-State1B – Adam Mayhew, Sr., Westfield
His numbers probably don’t reflect his importance to the team (12 RBI; 3-0, 15 IP), but his defensive presence was without question as the Bombers won their third Division 1 West title in five years. Mayhew will continue his career next year at Westfield State University.

Photos of Adam Mayhew, Mike Walkowicz, Lee Albertson, Matt O'Neil and Joelfi Arias are courtesy of the Springfield Republican. Photos of Pat Ruotolo, Ben Bowden and Mac Curran are courtesy of the Area Code Games.

D3 South Final: E. Bridgewater 5, Apponequet 0

June, 10, 2012
Ethan ForrestBrendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comEthan Forrest threw a complete-game shutout to clinch East Bridgewater's first Division 3 South title in nearly two decades.
BROCKTON, Mass. -- When starter Ethan Forrest woke up yesterday morning he could barely get out of bed. On Sunday he was unbreakable.

In what was East Bridgewater's fourth game in five days, the junior ace tossed four strikeouts to lead the third-seeded Vikings (18-4) to a 5-0 complete-game sweep of defending regional champs No. 8 Apponequet (14-6) in the Division 3 South finals at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.

The victory was the first sectional title for East Bridgewater since 1993 as it returns to Brockton at 4 p.m. on Tuesday to play the North champs North Reading (20-4) in the state semifinals.

“I iced, I took it easy, and I came back today and just threw,” said Forrest. “I let my arm do the healing. Coach needed someone so I raised my hand and stepped up to the occasion.”

The Vikings pulled ahead 1-0 in the third off a low rip by senior Casey DeAndrade. After three straight singles loaded the bases with two outs, DeAndrade knocked the ball into the ground and up off the chest of the second baseman to force a bobble on the throw to first.

DeAndrade went 3-for-4 with two RBI's, while falling one home run short of the cycle. Teammate and freshman Jake Pierce also cracked 3-of-4 for two RBI's and a run.

“I saw our third base coach waving so I thought I had a chance,” said DeAndrade. “We have been working hard in the cages so it pays off.”

Senior Tim O'Brien swatted a roller up the middle then stole third on a pitch in the dirt to set up the Vikings' second run two innings later. An outfield single by Pierce brought O'Brien home.

“(O'Brien) is just a star athlete,” said East Bridgewater coach Pat Cronin. “They are smart base runners. We did not get here by stopping people at third base.”

Apponequet put a runner in scoring position during both the first and fifth, but was unable to score.

A double and a stolen base by Zachary Bernard placed the sophomore on third with two out in the first, but Forrest forced a ground out to the shortstop. After a double play to open the fifth, junior Joshua Cabucio knocked a frozen rope over the shortstop to push senior Timothy O'Malley to second.

Forrest again pressured a hit out to the second baseman.

“Single elimination baseball and we never came up with the timely hit,” said Apponequet coach Bob Lomp. “We could not string together anything offensively.”

East Bridgewater finished Apponequet in its final at-bat with three hits and three runs.

After a balk moved senior James Sullivan to third, junior Brett Palaschak hit a deep right field sacrifice fly for a 3-0 edge. Junior Andrew Benson walked with four pitches then stole second with two outs to set up the 4-0 knock.

A rocket by Pierce was bobbled by a sliding centerfielder to bring Benson home. The following pitch, DeAndrade caught a long drive along the center-field wall to bring O'Brien home, but the senior was tagged out turning third for the final out.

“It was a fastball and I was on my front foot,” said DeAndrade. “I just flicked my wrist and hit it well. Coach was waving me and I saw every one up on the stands yelling so I just wanted to score.”

Not So Sunny Disposition: Apponequet starter sophomore Joshua Fickert tossed the entire game allowing 11 hits and striking out five with five earned runs. Despite the sun shining over the backfield press box the entire game, Lomp did not link any of his team's fielding mishaps to the stadium.

“I do not think we played poor defensively,” said Lomp. “We have been a pitching and defensive team all year. They just hit some gap balls there.”

Day In and Day Out: The victory was the Vikings' third on the weekend. Forrest pitched six innings in a 5-4 win over No. 6 Dover-Sherborn (15-7) on Friday, while tossing 93 pitches against the Lakers.

“They said 'Coach all we want to do is win today and get to the next game',” said Cronin “(Forrest) was throwing harder in the last inning than he was in the first. When it is your turn to hit, go hit then you just come back and sit in the shade.”

Recap: Cohasset 1, No. 20 East Bridgewater 0

May, 25, 2012
COHASSET, Mass. — Jamie Faber said pitching is all about confidence.

After his performance against East Bridgewater, the confidence felt by the coaching staff and the rest of his teammates probably grew ten-fold in the Skippers’ (17-2) right-handed pitcher.

Faber was brilliant in Cohasset’s 1-0 victory over the Vikings (13-4) to take the outright lead in the South Shore League as he struck out 10 and only allowed two hits in a complete-game shutout.

The coaching staff has held back Faber from logging major innings before the biggest game of the year, and Faber credited some extra rest to why he was so sharp from the first pitch to his 92nd.

“All day I was thinking about this game,” said Faber. “I knew how good they are and how they can put the ball in play. I just focused...I had more than a week off to prepare myself for this game, so I was full-throttle today.

“It’s not something that I need, but it helps a lot. My velocity tends to get lower towards the end of the innings, but my arm doesn’t even hurt right now, so it helps a lot.”

Freshman Jake Pierce lined a single into right in the first inning off of Faber, but that was all the Vikings would get until their final at-bats. Faber retired 18 in a row at one point, and from innings two through six he was throwing a perfect game. The righty picked up eight of his 10 strikeouts in that timeframe and only went to one, three-ball count as he was putting hitters away quickly.

“That’s one of the best games I’ve seen from my team pitch over the last four or five years,” said Skippers head coach Peter Afanasiw. “Against that lineup, it was unbelievable. I didn’t think one run was going to hold up in the first inning. I’m glad it did.”

Tense Situation in Seventh: Casey DeAndrade — who also started, but more on that later — only saw four pitches in his first two at-bats against Faber. He stayed a little bit more patent in the bottom of the seventh as he broke the string of 18 hitters retired by the Cohasset starter with a liner to right.

DeAndrade put his head down out of the box and with the infield playing back — because of the power the Vikings star posses to all field — he motored his way on to second to put the tying run in scoring position with one out.

Faber locked in to get a fly out to second base on the next hitter, and Colin Gideon-Murphy just got Brett DeBenedictis with his throw from the shortstop position to record the final out of the game.

“(In) last year’s state championship game, I’ve been here before and even in a worse situation with bases loaded no outs in that game,” said Faber. “I fought through that, so I feel it I can get through that then I can get through anything. It’s a game of confidence and I think I had that today.”

DeAndrade Shakes Off Earler Struggles: DeAndrade has been on the losing end of a 1-0 game already this season when he pitched good enough to get a win against Marshfield. In the first inning, DeAndrade was overthrowing, most notably on the third pitch of the game when he let out a loud grunt as he released a high fastball, and not commanding the strike zone.

He needed 24 pitches to get out of the inning and a miscue in the outfield allowed Faber to come around with the only run of the game.

DeAndrade came out for the second inning and the Skippers’ hitters helped him out with an aggressive approach that netted two outs with three pitches thrown. From that moment on, DeAndrade matched Faber pitch for pitch.

DeAndrade was near perfect from the second inning on as he only allowed a single to Faber in the sixth inning for the second hit of the game for the Skippers. The Vikings ace threw 49 pitches after the first inning to get the complete game. He threw 73 pitches and only 20 balls and finished with six strikeouts.

“I think was overthrowing (in the first inning),” said DeAndrade. “I was a little pumped up. That was the football player in me. I started to settle down.”

“With Casey he’s a football player,” added Vikings head coach Pat Cronin. “I always tell him before the game started that ‘you have to gear it down. If you can someway put it on the backburner we need you under control.’”

Recap: No. 22 Marshfield 3, East Bridgewater 0

April, 18, 2012
HULL, Mass. — William Battis thought the championship game of the Brian F. O’Donnell Memorial Tournament was going to be a low-scoring, tight contest between his Marshfield Rams and the Vikings of East Bridgewater.

Maybe professional prognosticator should be added to his work experience next to baseball coach.

Kevin Kwedor outdueled Casey DeAndrade in one of the best early-season pitching matchups, as the Rams claimed their fifth title in the April vacation tournament with a 3-0 victory against the Vikings today.

The Rams pushed their perfect record to 8-0, while the Div. 3 Vikings took their first loss on the season and are now 8-1 on the year.

“That was a great pitching matchup,” said Battis. “Any time you see that in a high school baseball game you’ve got to love that, very impressive. I was very happy with the way that my guys hung in there, dug in there.”

It was a classic lefty-righty matchup on the mound, and both pitchers were masterful.

Kwedor struck out 10 and scattered five hits in his complete-game effort, while DeAndrade — who is heading to UNH on a football scholarship next year — only allowed one hit and three runs, all unearned, in his 5.1 innings of work.

“He is a great athlete,” Kwedor said of his counterpart. “I’ve faced him in the past as a pitcher and a hitter, and I just tried to outduel him.”

No-Hit, No Lead: For most of the game, DeAndrade was in the unique spot of tossing a no-hitter, but not holding a lead at that point. The righty, with the flowing blonde hair under his brim, gave up three walks in the first five innings without allowing a hit, but one of those free passes came back to bite him.

In the top of the third inning, DeAndrade walked the No. 9 man Collin Ross on a 3-2 count. DeAndrade tried to keep Ross honest at first with a throw over, but the throw was low and in the dirt allowing the Rams’ baserunner to reach second.

Joe Cunningham bunted Ross over on the very first pitch he saw and Max DiTondo pounced on the second with a long fly ball to left-center in the gusty wind for the sacrifice fly and a 1-0 lead.

“It was perfect execution,” said Battis. “We talk about it all the time. We are trying to execute game-in-and-game-out, and against a guy like this you have to.”

DeAndrade again issued a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth inning, this time to Cunningham, and the Rams capitalized on another mishap in the field by the Vikings. Jon Ryan sent a shot to short, and the Vikings shortstop had some trouble with his footing on the throw to get the Rams third basemen in safely.

Mark Pomella earned a walk to load the bases, and the first hit of the game for the Rams gave them the insurance they needed as Mike McGuiggan singled up the middle with the infield drawn-in for a 3-0 lead.

The Real Story: East Bridgewater coach Pat Cronin didn’t beat around the bush with his assessment in his team’s first loss of the season.

“The real story was the kid on the mound for them and our inability to hit that little breaking ball,” he stated.

That little breaking ball from Kwedor was on display several times to get the strikeout numbers up. Kwedor recorded six of his 10 strikeouts with a nasty curveball that busted caught the bottom of the strike zone and had Viking hitters swinging over the top of the pitch.

Kwedor struck out the side in the final inning to use the 3-run cushion to his full advantage.

“His curveball was so good,” said Battis. “It kept the hitters off-balanced and then he straightens you up with his fastball. Inside, outside, it doesn’t get much better than that. He had a real strong day against a good, deep lineup.”

ESPN Boston MIAA football All-State team

December, 6, 2011
QB – Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr., Everett
Statistically the state’s best all-time quarterback, the ESPN Boston Mr. Football recipient finishes his storied career in Everett as the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (103) and passing yards (7,052). This season he broke his own state single-season record for TD passes (44), and threw for over 2,800 yards. In the last two seasons alone, both perfect Super Bowl-winning campaigns, he threw for 87 touchdown passes to better the previous state all-time mark of 85. DiBiaso is undecided on college plans.

QB – Matt O’Keefe, Sr., Duxbury
In his first season as the full-time starter under center, the Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit was a finalist for ESPN Boston’s Mr. Football award. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder totaled nearly 3,000 yards from scrimmage, throwing for 2,321 yards, rushing for another 670, and totaling 39 scores. O’Keefe, a defender for the defending Division 1 state champion Dragons, is currently ranked as the No. 32 overall lacrosse player in the Class of 2012 by ESPNU.

QB – Matt Montalto, Sr., Dennis-Yarmouth
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder led the Dolphins to their best season in school history, finishing a perfect 13-0 campaign by winning the Division 2A Super Bowl title – their first championship of any kind in the Super Bowl era. For the season he completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,065 yards and 25 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He also carried 134 times for 1,219 yards and 16 more scores. Montalto is fielding various college interest, including, New Hampshire, Albany, Colgate, Brown, Sacred Heart and Bentley.

QB – Michael Walsh, Sr., Swampscott
The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was a force on both sides of the ball for the 9-2 Big Blue, completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,129 yards and 25 touchdowns to go along with 930 rushing yards and 13 more scores. Defensively, he totaled 47 tackles from the free safety position, forcing three fumbles and making two interceptions. Walsh will continue his career next fall at Brown as a safety.

RB – Melquawn Pinkney, Sr., Springfield Putnam
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Mr. Football finalist ended his career with the Beavers in record-breaking fashion. With 341 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 48-6 win over Commerce for the Division 2 Super Bowl title, Pinkney broek Cedric Washington’s 15-year-old state all-time record for single-season yardage (2,889), and set the new state single-season mark for rushing touchdowns (43). Earlier in the season, Pinkney set a Western Mass single-game record with 421 rushing yards in a win over Agawam. For the season, he averaged 8.4 yards a carry. Pinkney is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Sacoy Malone, Sr., Springfield Central
Both Malone and his cross-town foil Pinkney eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark on the season, as the Eagles returned to the Western Mass. Division 1 Super Bowl for the second straight year. On the season, Malone had 257 carries for 2,001 yards and 22 touchdowns; since the start of the 2010 season, he’s accumulated over 3,200 yards and 35 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Malone is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 FCS schools.

RB – George Craan, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
Craan, the reigning Dual County League MVP, was the catalyst for the Patriots’ historic Super Bowl-winning season. He followed up a 1,900-yard junior season with just as explosive numbers in 2011, carrying 220 times for 1,761 yards and 24 touchdowns, as the Patriots went 13-0. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Craan is currently undecided on college plans.

RB – Charles Ruffin, Sr., King Philip
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is the second Warrior in four seasons to capture Hockomock League Offensive Player of the Year honors. On the season he amassed over 1,300 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, and led the Warriors to their first postseason berth of the Super Bowl era. Ruffin, who also stars in lacrosse and track and field, is currently fielding interest from several Division 1 schools.

TE – Mark Riley, Sr., Needham
One of several All-Staters previously known most for their lacrosse exploits, the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was a force to be reckoned with for the 9-4 Rockets. Utilized as both a receiver and tight end, Riley caught 72 balls for 1,266 yards and a school record 15 touchdowns. He is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest in lacrosse.

TE – Jameson McShea, Sr., BC High
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Temple commit didn’t put up eye-opening numbers in the passing game, but his support in the running game was without peer as he helped paved the way for both Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe. As a defensive end, he recorded 68 tackles (12 for loss) and was named the Catholic Conference’s Lineman of the Year.

WR – Khary Bailey-Smith, Sr., Weymouth
One of the state’s best deep-ball threats, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder tallied 936 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns for the 9-2 Wildcats this fall. Since the start of his junior season, Bailey-Smith has caught over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. He is also a state champion in track and field, having cleared 6-foot-10 in the high jump. Bailey-Smith is fielding interest from Division 1 schools.

WR – Gordon McLeod, Sr., BC High
One of the most versatile threats on the Eagles’ Division 1 Super Bowl champion squad, McLeod was one of the leading receivers in Eastern Mass., with 755 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns as they captured their second title in four seasons.

WR – Don Webber, Sr., Duxbury
Considered one of the state’s best route-runners, the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder was the 13-0 Dragons’ most dangerous weapon in space. Webber led the team with 52 receptions for 776 yards and 11 touchdowns, as the Dragons won a second consecutive Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium and extended the state’s longest winning streak to 26 games. Webber is leaning towards the Ivy League for college plans.

WR – Malcolm Brown, Sr., Pope John XXIII
Statistically, the 6-foot-1 Brown graduates from the Everett campus as one of the state’s most decorated receivers of all-time. This fall he caught 71 passes to set school records of 1,306 yards and 20 touchdowns, both tops in the state. He also racked up 918 return yards and three touchdowns, ran for 328 yards, and threw for another 267. Defensively, he recorded 65 tackles (10 for loss) and three interceptions, including a pick-six. For his career, he has 192 receptions for 3,447 yards and 44 touchdowns, and 56 total scores. Brown currently has interest from schools in the Northeast-10 and MEAC conferences.

OL – Andrew VanderWilden, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
At 6-foot and 245 pounds, VanderWilden was arguably one of the most efficient pound-for-pound centers in the state. He led a Patriots rushing attack that racked up 53 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards the ground, part of one of the state’s highest scoring averages (35.4). VanderWilden, a two-time Dual County League Lineman of the Year, will continue his career at Brown next fall.

OL – Keith Sullivan, Sr., Oliver Ames
The 6-foot-9, 300-pounder was arguably the most crucial two-way player for the Tigers’ historic run, winning their first Hockomock title since 1964 and qualifying for their first championship game of the Super Bowl era. Sullivan is currently undecided on college plans, but fielding Division 1 interest.

OL – John Montelus, Jr., Everett
DiBiaso’s blind side is quickly rising as one of New England’s top Class of 2013 prospects. The last two seasons the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has allowed DiBiaso to throw 87 touchdown passes and keep his jersey clean. Montelus received four offers before his 16th birthday this fall, and counts UConn, Syracuse, NC State, Virginia and Boston College.

OL – Gordon Acha, Sr., Duxbury
Acha, the Dragons’ left tackle, was named ESPN Boston’s inaugural Lineman of the Year this week after helping pave the way to a second straight 13-0 season. The Dragons averaged 302 yards of offense and had 36 touchdown passes. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Acha is currently fielding interest from Division 1 schools, including Boston College and Maryland.

OL – Rob Kosharek, Jr., Duxbury
Together with Acha, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Kosharek created one of the state’s best tandems on the left side of the 13-0 Dragons’ line. Behind Kosharek at left guard, the Dragons won their second straight Division 2 Super Bowl title and rang their winning streak up to a state-best 26 games.

ATH – Geeavontie Griffith, Sr., Boston Cathedral
The 12-1 Panthers experienced one of the state’s most dramatic turnarounds under first-year head coach Duane Sigsbury, and leading the charges was Griffith. The 5-foot-7, 175-pound Randolph native carried 152 times for 2,244 yards and 29 touchdowns, as the Panthers advanced to the Division 4A Super Bowl. He is currently undecided on college plans.

ATH – Armani Reeves, Sr., Catholic Memorial
Don’t let the Mr. Football finalist’s limited touches fool you. Reeves, a Penn State commit and the state’s No. 1 overall prospect, was electric practically every time he touched the ball. He ran for 1,001 yards on just 46 touches, caught another 205, and returned a punt for a touchdown to total 15 scores for the 7-2 Knights. That averages out to almost a touchdown every three touches.

K – Jules Murphy, Sr., Xaverian
Murphy has been known to regularly hit from 40 yards and further, and while he didn’t have many opportunities this season, he was a near-perfect 27-of-28 on extra points. Murphy is undecided on college plans.

DL – Ralph Jonathas, Sr., Everett

The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was a mainstay of the Crimson Tide's back-to-back Super Bowl championship teams and a defense that allowed just over 12 points per game this season. Jonathas has received interest from multiple Division 1 programs, but is undecided on college plans.

DL – Brendan Battles, Sr., Nauset
At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, the UConn commit was one of the most feared defensive presences in the state. But the bruising lineman also did double time, serving as the play-caller in Nauset's single wing offense, paving the way as the lead blocker out of the backfield. Battles also won the Division 1 and All-State wrestling crowns in the 215-pound divsion, advancing to the New England finals.

DL – Maurice Hurst Jr., Jr., Xaverian
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle was a physical presence in the middle of the Hawks defense. Hurst finished the season with 61 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Hurst also showed off his athleticism in one of the more improbable performances of the season, rushing for over 200 yards in the Hawks' win over St. John's of Shrewsbury, including an awe-inspiring 75-yard touchdown run.

DL – Henry Bumpus, Sr., Concord-Carlisle
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound defensive end was one of the more imposing physical presences in the state, as well as an important part of C-C's rushing attack at tight end. The senior captain helped to guide the Patriots to a Division 3 Super Bowl championship. A feared rusher off the edge, Bumpus finished with 9.5 sacks and 66 tackles. He also nabbed four interceptions on the season. Bumpus will attend Brown University next year.

LB – Tim Joy, Sr., Chelmsford
The Boston College-bound 'backer was the heart and soul of the Lions defense, leading the team with 155 tackles, including eight for a loss and three sacks. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder also had an interception in addition to three passes defensed. Joy was also a steady contributor to Chelmsford's offense, as a punishing lead blocker at full back in front of running back Eddie Sheridan.

LB – Luke Catarius, Jr., BC High
The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder lead the Eagles in tackles, despite playing 10 regular season games with 129 tackles, including 24 tackles for loss. Catarius was also a mainstay of BC High's offense, providing lead blocks at fullback in front of Preston Cooper and Deontae Ramey-Doe for the Division 1 Super Bowl champions.

LB – Vondell Langston, Sr., Everett
The Crimson Tide senior captain was an integral part of Everett's offensive and defensive units in each of their back-to-back Super Bowl championship seasons. As a linebacker, Langston was tough against the ran and a threat to drop back in coverage, coming away with three interceptions on the season. Langston tallied 15 touchdowns on the season at running back. He is undecided on his college choice.

LB – Cam Williams, Sr., Catholic Memorial
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was named one of 50 national finalists for the high school Butkus Award, honoring the nation's top linebacker. The Penn State commit totaled 119 tackles (81 solo), including 18 tackles for loss. Wiliams was also effective in pass defense with an interception and seven passes defensed.

LB – Nick Schlatz, Sr., Bridgewater-Raynham
The Trojans' senior captain was part of a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back along with Brandon Morin, totaling nine touchdowns. Schlatz was the fulcrum of Bridgewater-Raynham's defense, which allowed just under 14 points per game this season.

LB – Dan Flink, Sr., Auburn
Flink was the heart of the Rockets' defense, which surrendered just over 10 points per game this season. He totaled 141 tackles, including 27 tackles for loss, along with seven forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and eight sacks. Flink played running back with the same mentality he brought to his play at linebacker with 1,393 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior season. The three-year starter was part of four Super Bowl championship teams at Auburn and is looking to study at Mass Maritime Academy next year.

DB – James Burke, Sr., Duxbury
The senior captain was a stalwart in the Dragons' defense in their back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The 6-foot, 165-pounder formed a vicious safety duo along with Reilly Naton and led the secondary with 76 total tackles (50 solo) and had three interceptions with nine passes defensed. Also a standout on Duxbury's state-title winning lacrosse team, Burke has signed a letter of intent to play lacrosse at Penn State.

DB – Quinton Perkins, Sr., Fitchburg
The 6-foot, 170-pound wideout and safety was one of the most dynamic talents in the state, nevermind Central Mass. Perkins, who holds offers from UConn and UMass-Amherst, tallied 35 tackles and two interceptions on defense. He racked up 20 total touchdowns with 10 rushing, nine passing and a kickoff return. Perkins also racked up over 1,300 all-purpose offensive yards. He also racked up 200 all-purpose offensive yards and three touchdowns in the Red Raiders' playoff loss to Leominster.

DB – Casey DeAndrade, Sr., East Bridgewater
The University of New Hampshire commit was one of the most electrifying offensive talents in the state this year, but also played lock-down corner for the Vikings. DeAndrade tallied one interception in his senior season to push his career total to 11, a testament to opponents' weariness in throwing in his direction. The multi-talented athlete tallied 22 touchdowns with nearly 1,400 all-purpose offensive yards.

DB – Obi Melifonwu, Sr., Grafton
The UConn commit was a big-play threat on both sides of the football for Grafton, leading the Indians with three interceptions. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder also ran for nearly 1,400 yards in a shortened season along with 17 touchdowns.

RET – Chucky Ortiz, Sr. Woburn
Ortiz was a jack of all trades while taking MVP honors of the Middlesex League Large division. In racking up 24 touchdowns, Ortiz tallied two pick-sixes, and a pair punt returns and kick returns for scores. Ortiz had six interceptions on defense while finishing a shade under 1,200 rushing yards. He also handled place kicking duties for the Tanners, connecting on 15 PATs and one field goal.

Best of the Rest
A.J. Baker, Sr. WR, Swampscott
Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston
Vincent Burton, Sr. RB, Blue Hills
Kenny Calaj, Jr. WR, Everett
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover
Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial
Brian Dunlap, Fr. WR, Natick
Aaron Dyke, Jr. OL, Auburn
Andrew Ellis, Jr. LB, Barnstable
Joe Epps, Sr. RB, Bourne
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable
Brett Harrington, Sr. DL, Chelmsford
Jack Harris, Sr. TE, Lincoln-Sudbury
Greg Heineman, Sr. QB, Minnechaug
Damion Johnson, Sr. WR, Dennis-Yarmouth
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee
Thomas Kleyn, Sr. LB, Concord-Carlisle
Zack Hume, Jr. LB, Nashoba
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth
Reilly Naton, Sr. S, Duxbury
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
Mike Prendeville, Sr. OG, BC High
Will Quigley, Sr. RB, Marblehead
Deontae Ramey-Doe, Sr. RB, BC High
Max Randall, Sr. LB, Duxbury
Zack Schafer, Sr. LB, Mansfield
Eddie Sheridan, Sr. RB, Chelmsford
Jarod Taylor, Jr. RB, Mashpee
Shawn Whouley, Sr. WR, Weymouth

Mr. Football Watch: Week 11

November, 14, 2011

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Carried 28 times for 164 yards and two scores in the Patriots' 27-0 shutout of Lincoln-Sudbury.
Casey DeAndrade, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - Ran for 116 yards on 19 carries, and returning a kickoff 71 yards to the house, in a 16-6 loss to Mashpee.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw for 232 yards and four touchdowns, and added 97 rushing yards and a fifth score, in the Crimson Tide's 42-20 win over Malden that clinched their 17th straight Greater Boston League title. DiBiaso is now at 97 career touchdown passes.
A.J. Doyle, Sr. QB, Catholic Memorial - In the No. 5 Knights' win over Xaverian, threw for 167 yards and three scores and added 72 rushing yards and a fourth score.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - Completed 14 of 15 passes for 170 yards and 3 TD, and added 124 rushing yards and two more scores on just three carries, in a 42-7 win over Sandwich.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Carried 14 times for 94 yards in a 34-25 win over Holyoke, the first time since the Eagles' season-opening loss to Putnam that he's been held to under 100 yards.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Spraing his ankle in the opening five minutes of an 18-6 win over Minnechaug. Reports have surfaced that Norris, who has nearly 1,400 rushing yards on the season, sprained it somewhat significantly.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - In the Dragons' 34-7 league-clinching win over Hingham, completed 14 of 25 passes for 248 yards and four scores, and also added 95 rushing yards and a fifth score.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Carried 33 times for 168 yards and two scores in the Beavers' 22-12 win over South Hadley.
Armani Reeves, Sr. RB/WR, Catholic Memorial - Opened up the floodgates in the first quarter of a 33-11 win over Xaverian, with a 92-yard touchdown scamper, before Doyle took over.
Michael Walsh, Sr. QB, Swampscott - In the Big Blue's 33-15 win over Gloucester, he was 13 of 22 passing for 251 yards and four touchdowns, and carried nine times for 63 yards. On the season, the Brown commit has over 2,900 yards of offense.


Dan Barone, Sr. QB, Holliston - In the Panthers' 48-22 win over Norton, completed a perfect 7 of 7 passes for 227 yards and three scores, and added two rushing scores.
Andrew Coke, Sr. RB, Andover - Totaled 283 yards of offense and four rushing touchdowns in a 26-21 win over Lowell.
Mike Decina, Sr. QB, Hopkinton - Threw for 300 yards and six touchdowns in the Hillers' 42-13 beatdown of Westwood.
Theo France, Sr. RB, Barnstable - Last week, it was carving up the B-R defense on the ground. This week, he had 103 receiving yards and three touchdowns, in a 20-10 win over Plymouth North.
Jordan Keli'inui, Sr. RB, Mashpee - Carried 18 times for 98 yards in the Falcons' 16-6 win over East Bridgewater.
Cam McLevedge, Sr. QB, Weymouth - Threw for four touchdowns in a 50-0 shutout of Framingham, bringing his season touchdown pass total to a Division 1-best 34.
Chucky Ortiz, Sr. RB, Woburn - Did it all in the Tanners' 24-7 win over Lexington, running for two scores, throwing for another, and kicking a field goal.
Matt Owens, Sr. QB, Boston Cathedral - Threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers' win over Trinity Catholic that clinched the Catholic Central Small.
Quinton Perkins, Sr. RB, Fitchburg - Ran for four touchdowns in the Red Raiders' 26-15 win over Holy Name.
Karl Sery, Sr. RB, Hudson - The Bryant commit carried 34 times for 239 yards and two scores in the Hawks' 25-14 win over Clinton.

Recap: Mashpee 16, No. 19 E. Bridgewater 6

November, 12, 2011
MASHPEE, Mass. -- Everything lined up perfect for Mashpee in their quest for the South Shore League title against fellow unbeaten East Bridgewater in a winner-take-all event on the Cape.

From the standing room only crowd, to the wacky five shirtless students painted in blue running the sideline track for all 40 minutes, to the fact it was 11-11-11, to having South Shore League champion t-shirts made prior to the game, and finally for the classy way of honoring all veterans with two honorary Army team captains for the coin flip along with a VFW flag ceremony - it was almost like Mashpee knew they would win.

The Falcons (10-0, 7-0) did just that and punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 16-6 win over East Bridgewater for the school’s first-ever South Shore League title. East Bridgewater (9-1, 5-1) also came into the game unbeaten and were averaging 37 points per game on offense until they were stifled by the stout Falcons’ defense.

Despite only getting his number called five times, Jared Taylor scored twice on the ground with 19 and 22-yard touchdown runs and finished with 73 yards (14.6 per carry) to give Mashpee all they needed and head coach Matt Triveri knew how big the win was for the program.

“We are just happy for our community and this is a big win for our school and all the credit goes to our seniors. Even though [Jared] Taylor had two touchdowns it was our senior leadership, we were very loose, and had confidence in each other," Triveri said. “[Taylor is] a man beast and so physically gifted. He averaged over nine yards a carry this season and he breaks a lot of hard tackles and when he gets into the secondary he’s probably going to run away."

Two particular seniors led the way on both sides of the ball as tailback Jordan Keli'inui hauled the bulk of the load on offense with 18 carries for 98 yards and Graham Kilpatrick was the man on defense with eight tackles, three solo, along with a sack.

Making the league title even sweeter, Keli'inui, who rushed for over 1,000 yards as a junior, missed four games with a broken leg last year and the 6-foot-3 Kilpatrick was lost for the entire 2010 season with an injury.

“Zack Orcutt was tremendous at safety on defense and was the best player on the field at times and we were running a 3-4 and [Kilpatrick] was still making plays in the backfield in a 3-4; again, another senior that’s been with the program a couple of years,” Triveri said. “It’s a great feeling for him coming off last year since he didn’t play”.

Taylor scored his first touchdown with 6:03 to play in the second quarter and Keli'inui capped off the 9-play scoring drive with a 2-point rush to give Mashpee the 8-0 lead at the half. But the pivotal moment in the game came in the third quarter with East Bridgewater knocking on the goal line door with a first-and-goal from the Falcons’ 2-yard line.

Vikings quarterback Timothy O’Brien was knocked back for a 3-yard loss on the first play from scrimmage, so East Bridgewater head coach Shawn Tarpey decided to go to his star tailback, Casey DeAndrade.

The Falcons stopped DeAndrade for no gain and then after O’Brien got the Vikings back inside the one with a quarterback option on third-and-goal, DeAndrade lined up under center only to be stuffed inches from the goal line by Kilpatrick and a slew of defenders forcing a fumble and a turnover on downs inside the one.

“That was the pivotal moment of the game, we couldn’t punch it in and I tried to get the ball into Casey’s hands and honestly I’m second-guessing myself on that one and should have gotten the ball to the perimeter," Tarpey said. “I thought we moved the ball but we just couldn’t finish off drives, but certainly give Mashpee all the credit in the world, they gave us difficulties in every phase of the game.”

Missed opportunities had the Vikings failing to score on three separate occasions inside the Falcons 25-yard line. But after Taylor scored his second touchdown with two minutes left in regulation to give Mashpee the comfy 16-0 lead, all hope seemed to be lost until Triveri decided to kick off to the sensational DeAndrade.

All DeAndre did was return the kickoff 71 yards to give East Bridgewater some hope but a failed two-point conversion pass left the Vikings in peril, down 16-6. DeAndrade still was not done as he recovered the onside kick and the Vikings had the ball at midfield trailing by 10 with 1:45 to play.

But East Bridgewater simply ran out of time as they turned the ball over on fourth-and-goal from the Falcons' four-yard line despite the University of New Hampshire-commit DeAndrade finishing with a game-high 116 yards on 19 carries, including his 21st touchdown on the season.

“They gave us everything we expected in terms of our base formation, but we didn’t block great, we are not a powerhouse up front but it comes down to executing and we have to execute a little bit better, we have to tackle better”, said Tarpey, who was looking to get his squad the South Shore League championship belt for the first time since 1995. “We’ve had their number, but we had our hands full, and I’m sure they were thinking payback because we’ve beat them the last couple of years.”

EAST BRIDGEWATER (9-1) 0 0 0 6 - - 6
MASHPEE (10-0) 0 8 0 8 - - 16

MA – Jared Taylor 19 yard run (Jordan Keliinui run)
MA – Taylor 22 run (Zack Orcutt run)
EB – Casey DeAndrade 71 kickoff return (pass failed)

ESPN Boston Week 10 picks

November, 11, 2011
ST. JOHN’S PREP (4-4) at No. 3 BC HIGH (6-3)
The Skinny: The young Eagles bounced back from an 0-3 start to win four or their last five games behind electrifying sophomore Jonathan Thomas. Lucas Bavaro and the defense will have their hands full with Eagles running back Deontae Ramey-Doe who’s coming off a 200-yard game behind a talented, big offensive line led by senior Mike Prendeville and Adam Richard.

Scott Barboza: Coming off a stellar effort against Xaverian, the Eagles roll into their Turkey Day showdown with CM. BC High, 28-14.
Brendan Hall: Going with the big ol' goose egg on this one. BC High, 24-0.

The Skinny: The Knights proved they’re for real with a statement win over Hockomock Kelley-Rex power Mansfield early this season. But now it’s the Davenport division title on the line and Stoughton controls their own destiny. With wins over OA and Canton, the Knights can clinch outright.

Barboza: The Knights secondary can shut down an offense, but I like Tigers running back Sam Langston to have a big game. OA, 26-24.
Hall: You think these Stoughton DB's something to watch in the deep field? Wait 'til basketball season. Stoughton, 17-10.

The Skinny: The Hornets control their own destiny when it comes to the Hockomock Kelley-Rex title. A loss and Mansfield would be hard pressed to prevail in the league’s tie-breaker system. The matchup also features some of the area’s best running backs with the Red Rockets’ Alex Jette and the Hornets’ Greg Donahue and Blayne Taylor.

Barboza: In the typical fashion of this season, the Hornets go down to the wire, but win. Mansfield, 21-20.
Hall: Don Johnson was trying to explain to me the tiebreaker scenario this afternoon, and I'm still confused. So naturally, I want to see it enacted. North Attleborough, 14-10.

The Skinny: The Shamrocks defense has rolled through Eastern Athletic Conference play thus far, not allowing a single point. The league race was decided by these two teams last year with the Blue Raiders hanging 49 points on Feehan in Somerset to clinch a playoff berth, so the Shamrocks will be looking to return the favor.

Barboza: The EAC title was decided by this very game last season, as it will this year. Only difference is the result. Feehan, 21-14.
Hall: TD Garden is the Garden, the Comcast Center is the Great Woods, and whatever they're calling this school now, it'll always be just Somerset to me. Anyways, I still owe a steak dinner to somebody down there, and Nick Freitas is a terrific coach. Somerset, 21-7.

The Skinny: These teams have had their shares of ups and downs throughout the season, but the fate of the Big Three title hinges largely on this matchup. The Boxers seemed to right ship with a 3-game wining streak in the middle of the season, but are coming off two straight losses. The Whalers are still smarting over two rough losses to Dartmouth and Dennis-Yarmouth (106 points surrendered in those games) in their last three.

Barboza: The question of the year has been when will the Boxers get on track? Is this the week? Maybe, but Whalers win. New Bedford, 28-20.
Hall: One of the most feast-or-famine teams south of Boston is going to have a three-course meal Saturday. New Bedford, 17-0.

The Skinny: The last two remaining ISL football squads meet in what should prove to be an emotional game as it is Hillies head coach Kevin Fleming’s final regular season game. Belmont Hill’s offense finally caught fire last week with a 42-point performance against Lawrence Academy, but the Hillies’ defense has been stifling throughout, allowing less than a touchdown per game. Gov’s is averaging 36 points per game on offense and weren’t held under 30 points until last week’s win over Milton Academy.

Barboza: Gov’s QB Tate Jozokos might be the best player in the state nobody is talking about. Maybe it’s because his lacrosse star overshadows his football ability? Gov’s, 17-14.
Hall: I know what I said on the podcast earlier. But thinking about this one again, it just wouldn't be fair for both of us to pick against Kevin Fleming in his final ISL game. Belmont Hill, 13-6.

The Skinny: The matchup everyone's been waiting for in the South Shore League gauntlet, the No. 19 Vikings come into the game with a bit more hype, what with UNH-bound running back Casey DeAndrade (18 touchdowns) putting in another fine season and the Vikings averaging over 37 points per game. But the Falcons are no slouch, either, averaging 30.7 points per game and getting leadership out of their underrated tailback Jordan Keli'inui.

Barboza: I’ve said this is the Vikings’ year from the very beginning. EB, 20-14.
Hall: Text from our good friend Joe Burke: "I'm not just rooting for Mashpee because they're a Cape team, but because head coach Matt Triveri is a 'Barnstable guy'." Mashpee, 21-17.

The Skinny: This game means nothing for playoff implications, but is one of the weekend's most anticipated matchups. We know all about C-C's three-pronged rushing attack of George Craan, Tyquan Culbreath and Tim Badgley; but overlooked is one of the area's more stout defenses, led in the trenches by Andrew VanderWilden and Henry Bumpus, a unit allowing 10 points a game. Then again, the No. 12 Warriors have been even stingier, allowing just 8.1 points per game while getting plenty of production offensively from players like Chris Giorgio and Matt Cahill.

Barboza: This might be the first time this season C-C’s starters are required to play a full four quarters. C-C, 31-28.
Hall: Three heads, one monster. C-C, 30-20.

NO. 21 NATICK (8-1) AT NO. 23 WALPOLE (8-1)
The Skinny: Since losing to Needham on Oct. 21, the No. 23 Rebels haven't allowed a point. Overall, the Walpole defense is the stingiest by a wide margin, allowing just 8.1 points per game. They'll be saddled with the task of stopping a Natick offense that, one week after that Walpole contest, hung 49 on that same Needham team in a blowout win. Sophomore Troy Flutie (2,465 offensive yards, 28 total TD) has a shot at surpassing both 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing by season's end; meanwhile, freshman wideout Brian Dunlap (52 catches, 896 yards, 12 TD) is one of the state's leaders in touchdown receptions. Oh, and did we mention the Bay State Herget title is on the line again?

Barboza: If the Rebels get some early stops and a turnover or two to slow down the Red & Blue attack, they can pull it out. Walpole, 14-13.
Hall: The Red and Blue would have you believe their youth may very well show through on this one. Sorry fellas, not fooling me. Natick, 24-14.

The Skinny: The CAL/NEC Division 1 title is on the line in this one. Both teams come into this contest riding a hot streak, with the unranked Bulldogs have won five straight since dropping two in a row to Beverly and Swampscott in September. The No. 25 Knights, meanwhile, haven't lost since the opening-weekend contest to rival Andover; but an injury to senior quarterback Brandon Walsh in last week's win over Masconomet has some concerned.

Barboza: Walsh’s status might be questionable after last week’s injury, but I’m sure he’ll be ready for this one. North Andover, 34-28.
Hall: I don't see the elder Walsh missing this one, and I think the Knights overall are a bit more disciplined. North Andover, 38-35.

The Skinny: The Catholic Central Large title is up for grabs here. Given the way both teams are playing on defense right now, this may be one of the weekend's more underrated matchups. AC comes into this contest having pitched shutouts in two of its last three contests. Down the road in Brockton, Spellman is allowing just 4.6 points per game, second in the state to Blue Hills (4.4), with four shutouts. A garbage-time touchdown by Austin Prep in last weekend's rout marked the first time all season an opponent got out of single digits.

Barboza: The Cardinals’ experience of going to the Super Bowl last year is the difference. Spellman, 20-14.
Hall: AC is the team absolutely no one's talking about, but Ron St. George's coaching mettle in games like this will shine through. Spellman, 20-18.

The Skinny: It's a simple command for CM -- win this one, and set up a Thanksgiving showdown with archrival BC High for the Catholic Conference title. The execution may be more complex, given the diversity head coach Charlie Stevenson has shown with his offense the last few weeks. One week, it was a "Wildcat" look deploying both quarterbacks Austin DeCarr and Chris Calvanese. The next, it's a "500-pound backfield" of Hunter Taute and 270-pound defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr. combining for over 200 yards on the ground. But the Knights wield the ultimate X-factor: Armani Reeves, the state's most electric player out of the backfield.

Barboza: Because we’re all looking forward to a potential Thanksgiving Day battle for the Catholic Conference title. CM, 16-10.
Hall: As always, the Knights will find a way to make this one interesting. CM, 28-24.

Recap: No. 18 E. Bridgewater 25, Abington 22

November, 5, 2011
ABINGTON, Mass. -– With roughly one minute remaining in the fourth quarter and the Abington Green Wave 39 yards away from a game-winning touchdown, East Bridgewater senior Connor McDermott made a game-saving tackle on 4th-and-9. It helped the Vikings preserve their undefeated record for yet another week and keep pace with Mashpee in the South Shore League with a dramatic 25-22 victory.

“That tackle was the biggest tackle I’ve ever made,” McDermott said. “Anytime you get the stopping tackle, it’s pretty big, but I pretty much just give it to Coach [Shawn] Tarpey because he’s been coaching us all this time, and he was just saying, ‘stay where you are,’ so I just stayed where I was and made the tackle."

Tarpey added, “A game like this, you’re excited, and sometimes everybody wants to make the play, [but] they realize they’ve just got to do their job, and we’ll be OK. Obviously, there’s not much else we could say, just kind of do your thing. [Abington] still [had] to put it in the end zone or kick a field goal, and we stopped them at the end.”

Both teams shook off their pre-game jitters during the opening minutes of the first quarter with back-to-back interceptions before Abington’s junior place kicker Joe Buckley kicked a 26-yard field goal, which gave the Green Wave their first lead of the game.

East Bridgewater responded on the ensuing possession, as senior quarterback Timothy O’Brien, (10 carries, 128 yards, and 3 TDs), rushed for his first of three scores, before Abington answered with a 34-yard run by sophomore half back Matt Kilmain.

Entering the second half, East Bridgewater added three more touchdowns on the ground, thanks to O’Brien and senior halfback Casey DeAndre, (22 carries, 159 yards, and TD) before Abington staged an epic comeback that featured two rushing touchdowns by junior half back Babila Fonkem, and an onside kick, which didn’t result in any points.

“I thought my kids played a hell of a game, they gave every effort that they could give, [and] I didn’t think they backed down from anything and this is the kind of game that should happen and it did,” Abington head coach Jim Kelliher said.

“[This win was] incredible. Obviously, it just keeps us right on the path that we need to be on with next week’s matchup, and I’m certainly going to enjoy this one tonight, but it’s good,” Tarpey said. “Last year, we beat these guys, and then we went out and lost to Mashpee, so we’re going to enjoy this [victory].”

Against the Green Wave, the Vikings running game demolished their opponents front seven, as O’Brien and DeAndre combined for 287-yards on the ground, and four touchdowns.

“[It’s] not very easy,” Kelliher said. “That’s the best combination of two guys that I’ve seen. They did such a nice job in the backfield, riding, faking, they do an excellent job.”

Tarpey credited his running attack against Abington by saying, “That’s been that way all year. Teams have either taken away Casey or Timmy, and the other ones had a good game, depending on who they were trying to take away, so we busted out, we didn’t execute, we had the turnovers in the first half, but we’re glad to pull it out in the end.”

Both teams combined for 32-points in the third and fourth quarters, as Abington and East Bridgewater flexed their offensive muscles on the ground game, but it was the Vikings, who managed to score an additional six points in the third quarter, which proved to be the difference.

“We came back each and every time they came back and at the end they were just three-points better than us," Kelliher said. “We’re working, if anything to get ourselves in position to maybe get a field goal kick there, we didn’t get it, but that’s what we work on, that’s what we do each and every week, that’s what we [do] on the practice field all time.”

East Bridgewater (9-0, 5-0) - 0 6 6 13 -- 25
Abington (6-3, 4-2) - 3 6 0 13 -- 22

1st quarter
A - Joe Buckley 26-yard Field Goal

2nd quarter
EB – Timothy O’Brien, 14-yard run, (pass failed)
A – Matt Kilmain, 34-yard run (pass failed)

3rd Quarter
EB – Casey DeAndre, 15-yard run (run failed)

4th quarter
A – Babila Fonkem, 17-yard run (Buckley kick)
EB – O’Brien, 15-yard run (kick failed)
EB – O’Brien, 27-yard run (Kevin Lynch kick)
A – Fonkem, five-yard run (pass failed)

Midseason football staff superlatives

October, 19, 2011
Continuing with our mid-season theme today, ESPN Boston high school editors Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall check in with quick-hit thoughts on the area's best.

Coach of the Year: Paul Funk, Dennis-Yarmouth
Best offense: Everett
Best defense: Duxbury
Biggest surprise: Needham
MVC Large winner: Chelmsford
Hockomock Kelly-Rex winner: Mansfield
Hockomock Davenport winner: Stoughton
Catholic Conference winner: BC High
DCL Large winner: Westford
South Shore winner: Mashpee
ISL Bowl invites: Governor’s Academy, Belmont Hill
Best offensive player: Armani Reeves, Catholic Memorial
Best defensive player: Tie – Tim Joy, Chelmsford; Maurice Hurst Jr., Xaverian
Best small-school player: Casey DeAndrade, East Bridgewater
Second-half breakthrough to watch: Jonathan Thomas, Soph. RB, St. John’s Prep

Mr. Football Top 5:
1. Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett
2. Matt O’Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury
3. Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam
4. Preston Cooper, Sr. RB, BC High
5. Armani Reeves, Sr. RB/WR, Catholic Memorial

Coach of the Year: Dave Duffy, Needham
Best offense: Everett
Best defense: Duxbury
Biggest surprise: Brockton
MVC Large winner: Chelmsford
Hockomock Kelly-Rex winner: Mansfield
Hockomock Davenport winner: Oliver Ames
Catholic Conference winner: BC High
DCL Large winner: Lincoln-Sudbury
South Shore winner: East Bridgewater
ISL Bowl invites: Governor’s Academy, Belmont Hill
Best offensive player: Melquawn Pinkney, Putnam
Best defensive player: Tim Joy, Chelmsford
Best small-school player: Malcolm Brown, Pope John XXIII
Second-half breakthrough to watch: Austin DeCarr, Xaverian

Mr. Football Top 5:
1. Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam
2. Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury
3. Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett
4. Tim Joy, Sr. LB, Chelmsford
5. Nick Schlatz, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham

Week 6 High Schools podcast

October, 14, 2011
Signs of the apocalypse? Not really. But this sure was a wild week in Boston sports.

We chronicled it all in our latest edition of the ESPN Boston High Schools podcast. Once again, Scott Barboza and Brendan Hall had the latest, sans producer Drew Brooks.

Did the boys make it out, OK? Find out in this week's edition, along with the divine intervention found on Duxbury receiver Don Webber's sleeve and an interview with East Bridgewater's multi-talented Casey DeAndrade.

Player Perspective: Casey DeAndrade

October, 11, 2011
EAST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- A year ago, East Bridgewater's Casey DeAndrade burst onto the scene by scoring in a variety of ways. His 23 touchdowns for the 9-2 Vikings broke down like this: 10 rushing, four receiving, one passing and eight returns (four interceptions, one fumble, one kickoff, two punts). And from that, seven of those scores were for 70 yards or more.

So with versatility and home-run ability like that, how does one follow up in his swan song campaign? So far, the UNH commit has done his damage mostly on the ground, with 11 of his Division 4-best 12 touchdowns coming by way of the run (he also had an 85-yard kickoff return for a score).

[+] EnlargeCasey DeAndrade
Brendan Hall/ESPNBoston.comAfter scoring 23 touchdowns in seven ways last season, East Bridgewater's Casey DeAndrade has 12 scores and 578 rushing yards through five games in 2011.
Through five games this season for the No. 23 Vikings, he has 578 rushing yards. Something tells us it's only a matter of time before he really, truly explodes (even though he's already on track to match last year's season total). Moments before East Bridgewater head coach Shawn Tarpey was honored as the New England Patriots Coach of the Week, DeAndrade talked with about his running style, how he stays loose, and community pride in the South Shore League.

Q: Notice you've grown your hair out a little bit. What's the story with that?
A: "Me and my brother [Justin DeAndrade] both decided to do it. He plays football for Worcester State. We both decided to let it grow out, we have a bet going to see who can grow it the longest. Just a little thing in the family."

Q: So who's winning the bet, and what does the winner get?
A: "Mostly bragging rights. I think I'm winning right now, mine's a little bit longer, but we'll see. We'll keep it going, I dunno (laughs)."

Q: Last season, you were taking the ball in so many ways, and you scored in a variety of methods. It looks like you're more in the backfield so far this season.
A: "Yeah, well just at the beginning of the year, we're trying to get more people around. But I still have one pick I brought back, and then a couple of punts, and I'm mostly in the backfield, yeah, but last week we started to venture out with it. We'll see how it goes from here on."

Q: You've obviously got some elite speed. Talk about your running style, and how you've developed that.
A: "It's a lot of cuts. It's all, like, shifty stuff. I don't really know, you can't really describe how you do it. You just have to be doing it, know what I mean? I just do it. Just gotta do it, run away from the person that's trying to tackle you."

Q: It's not often that a kid playing in the South Shore League gets Division 1 interest. How did you go about getting exposed?
A: "I don't know, I just worked hard. Everyone says, 'Oh, you should go to B-R [Bridgewater-Raynham]', or 'You should go to these schools because you'll get looked at more', but I don't believe that. I believe that if you have talent, they're going to find you. I just worked hard. I worked hard in the offseason, worked hard everywhere else, and it just paid off."

Q: So how did they find you?
A: "I went to BC camp a couple times, then I went to other camps like the UNH camp and the UConn camp. I don't know, coach Tarp [Shawn Tarpey] does a real good job exposing me and Tim [O'Brien] to everyone. He does a real good job with that."

Q: Looking back on your career so far, what's the best touchdown you've scored so far?
A: "I'd probably say last year against Abington (a 22-12 win on November 5). It was just a regular play, and I just broke it out and we sealed the deal on that touchdown. It was just a zone left, I think, and I took it on the outside. I beat one kid through a stiffarm, and just beat him all the way out. I'd say it was about 60 yards. It was against one of our biggest rivals, too, a big league game, so it was huge."

Q: What is your favorite play to run?
A: "I'd probably say our zone. It's our bread and butter, it's easy."

Q: You mention the importance of playing Abington, and most of these South Shore League teams seem to have a good rivalry with one another. What do you think makes this league so special?
A: "Everyone's always competitive. You can't overlook someone, because, I mean, last week Hull beat Rockland and no one could ever see that coming. We only beat Hull 28-7, and then we came and beat Cohasset, but you can't overlook anybody. They'll come out and just beat you. I can't really explain it. Everyone's just so competitive."

Q: Who is the best player you've faced so far in high school?
A: "I'd say Christian Lapointe from Abington, my sophomore year. He was probably the best. He was just so quick, and he was a good leader, too. You could tell he was the big dog on their team and everything. He was just so quick, a lot of shifty moves and everything. He was really good."

Q: As a defensive back, some guys like to bump and some like to play off. Obviously that's dictated by the coverage, but what is your mentality out there?
A: "When I play corner, I like to play bump and run, because I think my speed will be able to catch up with people. But I play safety now, and it's a lot of reading people and I have to read the tight end, whether he blocks down or whatever. I just kinda use my speed and go out and run people down. I don't try to make a bad angle, I just try to run people down with my speed, really."

Q: How do you get prepared for the game?
A: "In the morning, me and a couple friends go to a breakfast place up the street, Johnny D's. It's really good. Then after school, we go to Subway, we do the same thing every week. Then we come to the locker room and hang out with the guys, just get ready."

Q: Are you a guy that likes to get loose before games?
A: "Yeah, I don't get pumped up or anything. I just always laugh and giggle. I just do my own thing, I don't like to get pumped up."

Q: How do you go about relaxing?
A: "I just kinda listen to music, hang out with the guys. People are dancing in the locker room, doing whatever they gotta do, I just kinda hang out."

Q: What are the five bands playing most on your iPod right now?
A: "I'm on Pandora a lot, so I'd probably say Tyler the Creator -- he's pretty good -- Lil Wayne, Drake, all those guys, just playing on repeat. A lot of people on the team like him [Tyler], so I got kinda introduced to him. It's weird, I dunno, he's kinda funny to listen to (laughs)."

Q: What do you guys need to work on the rest of the season?
A: Just taking one game at a time, not overlooking anybody really. Just doing our own thing. Not trying to get too pumped up or anything, just play every week like it's our last and keep going."

Mr. Football Watch: Week 6

October, 10, 2011

George Craan, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle - Easy week for him in the Patriots' 35-7 rout of Boston Latin. He had just five carries for 135 yards and two scores.
D.J. Crook, Sr. QB, Barnstable - Looks he won't be appearing on this list for a few weeks. He fractured the thumb on his throwing hand in the second half of a 31-17 loss to New Bedford last Friday, meaning he'll be sitting at 74 career touchdown passes for a while. He did managed to throw for 135 yards on 13 of 19 passing.
Casey DeAndrade, Sr. RB, East Bridgewater - The UNH commit ran for two touchdowns in the Vikings' 36-12 win over Cohasset, bringing season season total to 12.
Jonathan DiBiaso, Sr. QB, Everett - Threw five touchdown passes in the No. 1 Crimson Tide's 41-8 rout of Taunton, bringing his career total to 79. It's a very real possibility he'll break Tom Colombo's state record of 85 sometime over the next two weeks.
Nick LaSpada, Sr. QB, Billerica - Threw for 209 yards and two scores in the Indians' 20-14 win over Tewksbury.
Sacoy Malone, Sr. RB, Springfield Central - Carried 16 times for 141 yards in the Golden Eagles' 36-15 win over East Longmeadow.
Matt Montalto, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth - In the Dolphins' 27-18 win over Plymouth North, he completed 7 of 13 passes for 236 yards and added 71 yards on seven carries on the ground, totaling three scores.
T.J. Norris, Sr. RB, Longmeadow - Carried 14 times for 101 yards and two scores in the Lancers' 34-7 win over Holyoke.
Matt O'Keefe, Sr. QB, Duxbury - Another brilliant performance for the Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit, in a big 31-14 win over Xaverian. He was 16 of 22 passing for 230 yards and two scores, and added 76 yards on the ground on 14 carries.
Melquawn Pinkney, Sr. RB, Putnam - Carried 23 times for 352 yards and six scores in the Cybercats' 54-22 win over Chicopee Comp. In the last three weeks, he's carried 68 times for 1,035 yards and 16 touchdowns. That's an average of 15.2 yards per carry.
Armani Reeves, Sr. RB, Catholic Memorial - The Penn State commit had rushing touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters to seal the Knights' 35-14 win over Hingham.
Michael Walsh. Sr. QB, Swampscott - Threw for three touchdowns in the Big Blue's 24-23 comeback win over Triton.


Chris Bettano, Sr. RB, Tewksbury - Ran for 122 yards on 15 carries in the 20-14 loss to Billerica.
Matt Clifford, Jr. WR/KR, Billerica - Amassed nearly 300 all-purpose yards in the Indians' 20-14 win over Tewksbury, hauling in both of Nick LaSpada's touchdown passes and returning a kickoff 91 yards for the game-winning score.
Alex Eaton, Sr. RB, Westford - In the Grey Ghosts' 48-14 stomping of Newton South, carried 16 times for 139 yards and two scores, and added a 90-yard kickoff return for a third score.
Geeavontie Griffith, Sr. RB, Boston Cathedral - Carried 10 times for 180 yards and all four of the Panthers' scores in a 32-0 win over Charlestown. On the year, he has 917 rushing yards on 62 carries, for 11 touchdowns.
Myles Medeiros, Sr. QB, New Bedford - In the 31-17 win over Barnstable, was 17 of 26 passing for 227 yards and a touchdown. He also carried six times for 53 yards.
Reilly Naton, Sr. WR/DB, Duxbury - The Yale lacrosse commit asserted himself at the most crucial point of the Dragons' 31-14 comeback win over Xaverian. He had back to back receiving touchdowns to give them the lead for good, and sealed the game late with an interception.
R.J. Noel, Sr. QB, Lowell - In the Raiders' 35-20 win over Dracut, he ran for 127 yards and a score on the ground, and added 96 yards and two scores through the air.
Ian Riley, Jr. RB, Needham - Ran for 162 yards and three scores in the Rockets' 34-0 shutout of Weymouth, giving him six rushing touchdowns in the last two weeks.

Mr. Football Watch: Week 1

September, 6, 2011
Last year, Everett wide receiver Matt Costello was the inaugural recipient of the ESPNBoston Mr. Football Award, annually given to the top high school football player in Massachusetts.

It was a unanimous decision for the Princeton freshman, who also took home the state's Gatorade Player of the Year honors. But with the wealth of quality quarterbacks and running backs this season, this year's field appears to be much more wide open.

Check back with us each Monday leading up to the announcement on December 5, as we track the players in the running across the state. Below is our initial list of 15 players to watch for the award:

(Note: The award is not eligible to players in their fifth year of high school)

The ESPN Boston preseason All-State selection will be looking to lead the Eagles back to the top of the Catholic Conference. Cooper ran for more than 1,500 yards last season.

GEORGE CRAAN, Sr. RB, Concord-Carlisle
The Dual Country League Small 2010 Player of the Year is coming off a 1,914-yard rushing performance. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound back also led Division 2A with 24 touchdowns and will be a major factor in the Patriots’ quest for another Super Bowl appearance this year.

CASEY DeANDRADE, Sr. ATH, East Bridgewater
DeAndrade is a true triple threat for the Vikings at running back, defensive back and kick returner. He racked up over 1,000 offensive yards with 750 rushing yards. DeAndrade scored 23 total touchdowns last season with four defensive touchdowns on his nine interceptions. For his career, DeAndrade has accumulated over 2,000 yards of offense with 14 interceptions.

The coach’s son had a junior year for the ages, throwing for a state-record 43 touchdown passes to just four interceptions and accumulating 2,885 yards. What’s next? With 59 career scoring strikes, another monster season could put him atop the all-time record books (Brockton’s Tom Colombo holds the record at 85).

TIM JOY, Sr. LB, Chelmsford
The Boston College-bound, two-time Merrimack Valley Conference All-Star made a name for himself as one of the state’s best defensive players, racking up 131 tackles from his middle linebacker position, including 13 for losses and adding three interceptions.

NICK LaSPADA, Sr. QB/S, Billerica
In his swan song at Billerica, where he’s assured every school record when all is said and done, LaSpada is looking to lead the Indians back to the playoffs after a 5-6 campaign. The 2009 Mass. Gatorade Player of the Year has over 9,300 yards of offense for his career; last season, he totaled 3,802 yards and 40 scores.

SACOY MALONE, Sr. RB, Springfield Central
The Golden Eagles didn’t have quite enough to knock off perennial power Longmeadow in Western Mass. last season, but Malone was a big reason for the Golden Eagles’ Super Bowl berth. Malone has average over six yards per carry for his career and posted a 1,200-yard rushing performance with 16 touchdowns.

MATT MONTALTO, Sr. QB, Dennis-Yarmouth
In the Dolphins’ historic 2010 campaign, Montalto threw for over 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions, while adding 1,123 yards and 15 more scores on the ground. He could be in for an even bigger campaign this fall.

PAUL MROZ, Sr. QB, Brockton
After a junior season that hinted at promise, the 6-foot-1 senior could be in for a big 2011. A season ago, he threw for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns; on the ground, he ran for another eight scores and averaged nearly seven yards per carry.

T.J. NORRIS, Sr. RB, Longmeadow
As the Lancers gun for their 11th Super Bowl title in the last 15 seasons, Norris will again be the feature back in coach Alex Rotsko’s Wing-T offense. Norris eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau despite missing the final two games of the season while racking up 1,148 yards and 14 touchdowns.

ARMANI REEVES, Sr. ATH, Catholic Memorial
The Knights plan on using the Penn-State bound scatback and his 4.4 speed in every conceivable fashion in their quest for the Catholic Conference title. He racked up over 1,250 all-purpose yards and scored 16 touchdowns in four different ways – rushing, receiving and returning both punts and kicks.

NICK SCHLATZ, Sr. RB/LB, Bridgewater-Raynham
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound was an Old Colony League All-Star in both football and track and field and is about as good a two-way player as you’ll find in the state. Schlatz ran for 1,300 yards last season with 18 touchdowns and was a key cog to the Trojans’ defense that led the team to its second straight Eastern Mass Division 1A Super Bowl appearance.

KARL SERY, Sr. RB/CB, Hudson
After leading a rapid turnaround a year ago, the Bryant-bound Sery has the Hawks in Super Bowl conversation again. Last year he ran for 1,430 yards and 18 touchdowns, and added 32 tackles and three interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.

BRANDON WALSH, Sr. QB, North Andover
Walsh’s remarkable interception-free streak came to an end at the most inopportune times, but that shouldn’t tarnish a spectacular junior season. He threw for 1,525 yards and 23 touchdowns while adding another 695 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground while leading the Knights to a Division 2A playoff appearance.

MIKE WALSH, Sr. QB/S, Swampscott
After playing most of last season just on the offensive side of the ball, Walsh, who’s commited to playing safety at Brown, will hold down duties on both sides of the ball this year. The Northeast Conference’s 2010 Offensive MVP combined to put up over 3,000 yards of offense last year.